© J.L.Austin

Publication | (De)Securitization Dilemmas


This paper theorizes the simultaneous enaction of securitizing and desecuritizing moves. It argues that the frequent simultaneity of these two processes, which are normally considered mutually exclusive within Securitization Theory (ST), has previously gone unnoticed given a set of methodological, temporal, and ontological biases that have developed within ST. Demonstrating how these biases can be overcome – and even reconciled with the seminal texts of ST – by drawing on work from within social theory and elsewhere, we argue that the frequent simultaneity of (de)securitizing moves most urgently requires us to reconsider the normative status of desecuritization within ST. Although desecuritization has traditionally been viewed as normatively positive, we argue that its temporally immanent enaction alongside securitizing moves might introduce more violence into security politics and – in fact – exacerbate protracted conflicts. Ultimately – then – we have make the normative ambitions of some within ST more opaque. Desecuritization is not a shortcut to the ethical-political good within ST.

This is a pre-print of an article forthcoming in Review of International Studies. When possible, please cite the final version of this article.

Key Words:

securitization, desecuritization, security, Copenhagen School, normativity.


Austin, J.L. & Beaulieu-Brossard, P. (Forthcoming 2018) ‘(De)Securitization Dilemmas: Theorising the Simultaneous Enaction of Securitization and Desecuritization.’ Review of International Studies.